Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Report 1/25-1/29

This is my first one so please bear with me:) As stated in my previous post, my dd has been quite the handful this week. We still managed to accomplish a fair amount though.

Phonics (OPGTR ) - We are on lesson 89 and finished the word scavenger hunt today. Which is where I write words from previous lessons on cards and she places them where the card says. For some reason though, I seemed to have a lot of the cards stuck on me. We learned all the different ways to spell the long a sound, a_e, ai, ay, ey, and ei. She seemed to grasp this concept quickly and read them off the white board and with the magnetic letter tiles.  Nightly we have a you read I read ritual. She reads a Bob book to me and then I read her a story. She seems to enjoy this and has her books picked out by bedtime.

Spelling (Spelling Workout A ) - We just began this two weeks ago and she seems to be able to zip through quickly so far. We do 2-3 pages a day. I have to read the instructions and she goes through the lessons while I watch. This seems to have taken the place of Explode the code 2 which I manage to get her to do 1-2x a week. She doesn't like ETC though which makes it tough. The Spelling Workout book seems to fill the void fairly well though, so I am sure we will be done with ECT before the end of summer.

Spelling Workout A lesson

Math (Saxon Math 1 ) - We complete 4 lessons and one assessment this week. We are still trudging through this with plans to finish, but neither one of us enjoy this curriculum. I have intentions to switch to Singapore Math for her Gr. 1, as it seems like it will be a better fit for us. Until then though we will work on our lessons and drills. She learned to tell time to the hour this week and counted to 100 following her number chart without any prompting from me, (for the first time) and she learned to count by 10's to 100, count dimes up to $1.00 and is learning to skip count by 2's (not quite grasping this yet).

Doing her math drill sheet

Geography (My First Map Book - By Apple Press ) - This is a simple beginners map book that uses fairy tales to implement skills. It focuses mostly on Canada which is great because I want her to get a better understanding of her homeland before we embark on a more in depth world geography next year. This week we learned about placement on a map, eg. above, below, middle. 

Handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears ) - Getting handwriting down is close to pulling teeth because she seems bored by it. Although her handwriting is not very good we are only doing 2 lessons a week at the moment. I plan to raise it to 3-4 gradually again, I just need to find a better time to schedule it.

Art (local art school) - We have a once a week Art class downtown that we go to. This week there was a blizzard so by the time we got there, we were covered in snow head to toe. It probably didn't help that I had to drop off library books and some packages on our walk there.........while holding a coffee which was ice cold by the time we arrived. We made clay masks this week. I posted about it earlier so I won't repeat it. Next week we are making jewelry boxes.

Music - I have been working with technical help for the last three weeks trying to get my MusIQ Homeschool disk to work because it won't install properly.  I am excited to get this working though, so we can begin our piano lessons. Other musical side notes, Roo LOVES Abba. Really, really loves them. We had to download it onto her ipod for as well as she constantly puts it on in her CD player. The movie Mama Mia fascinated her and when we listen to an Abba cd she can place every song to all the parts of the movie. The Mama Mia musical is returning to Toronto in June and we have plans to bring her, but the wait is driving her nuts.

 Listening to Abba on her ipod

Playing her guitar along with the Abba cd after lunch. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh the Trials and Tribulations..............

The past few days have been a test. Roo decided that this week she would be at her most difficult.......and boy was she ever. Everything seemed to get a no answer in response and lessons were a struggle due to the attitude, but we prevailed. Her attitude subsided today and she was quiet, helpful and promptly did her work without argument. It was like night and day. I think I am going to go to the dollar store and pick up a timer, a "treasure chest" and some cheap prizes to try to implement a behavior and work reward system. She is not the type of kid that is phased by standing in the corner or having toys/games/privileges revoked, so we will try this and see how it works.
This morning we had art class at the local art school. The project today was clay masks, messy but fun. As the class went on, slowly the kids began to disappear until it was only the moms left finishing the masks. The kids decided to go into the other room and were playing hide and seek. I can't wait to see the end result after they are fired in the kiln and we paint them. If they are complete I will post the project next week.
On another note, I am think of not using Explode the Code work books anymore. Roo doesn't really like them and we get to it only 1-2 times a week. I think I may continue with it until the end of summer and see how far we can take it (hopefully to the end of book 4 or 5). The when the grade 1 year begins I will no longer use it. I think there will be enough for her to do at that time anyway.  Right now she is watching the Eloise movie from our library (aren't libraries great) and is cackling with laughter. Sometimes that laughter means naughty things, so I must go check now. I actually compare Roo to Eloise. For those of you that have read her stories that should give some insight to what she can be like:)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Self Education and Language Decisions

    I have wanted to become better educated for a long while. I had a basic highschool education of having a little bit of knowledge in a lot of different things. I wished it could have been more stream lined with deeper focuses on the things that I was drawn to. I had four years of college taking three different things and completing none of them. I think I carried the little bit of a lot of different things theme into College unfortunately. This is a big reason why I want to homeschool. I want to be able the build my daughters schooling around her interests and strengths while forming a solid foundation of knowledge as the basis.
    Over the past year and a half I have been really interested in learning a second language. I have access to Rosetta Stone Dutch, French and German all with levels 1 and 2. I chose to begin with Dutch, but there is not  a lot available curriculum wise to learn the Dutch language so it has been difficult. I have decided that maybe I will set it aside for a bit and begin with French and Latin.  Roo will be starting Song School Latin next year for her introduction and I have decided to start myself with Getting Started with Latin. This should give me a nice headstart to her and hopefully (fingers crossed) I will be able to stay several steps ahead. I also ordered First Start French  to begin my own French lessons. I took French well into highschool and I never could grasp it. I don't know if it was because I couldn't or I didn't really care to at the time. Either way it is unfortunate that I wasted that opportunity. First Start French is modeled after Latina Christiana  so has religious content. I homeschool secularly but I am Catholic and attended Catholic school until I finished highschool, so the religious content won't bother me. I will try to report on my successes with either or both languages I just have to wait for them to arrive. I ordered them with Christmas money but they were backordered on which is a cheaper way for me to purchase than from the States. I was thinking of having Roo do the French with me. The program I was going to get her is no longer available:( So I thought If I did a lesson of First Start French myself and then went back and did it really slow with her it will help to reinforce what I learned as well. Now if I can get my piano lessons problem solved.  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saxon, schedules and a letter to Disney

We currently use Saxon 1 for math and it takes so much time that I am contemplating doing Singapore next year instead. It just seems that after the meeting book and lesson it is really hard to get her to do the fact drills, worksheet and then the homework later. Even if I break it into segments it still takes a huge portion of our daily lesson times. I find that we can never complete it all and it is pushed to the weekends in an endless cycle of catch up. She is learning and retaining but she cringes when I pull out the math stuff and so do I. I have heard a lot of positive things about Singapore and I think it may be a good decision for us. I am holding onto  hope.

So Roo really wants to go to Disney Land. I'm not so eager but dh seems excited to take her. The obvious problem is money. We aren't the type of people that can vacation every year. We have to plan well and save over an extended period of time (think years). I really want my next vacation to be European though, filled with history and culture. I figure we can hit two birds with one stone to go to Euro Disney if we get the opportunity to travel to Europe. I know that Euro Disney isn't comparable to Florida Disney, but I think that would satisfy her. Plus we would get do do so much more than just see a theme park. I just need to convince the other two. Friday a Disney advertisement came in the mail and my dd assumed it was mail sent to her. She decided to send Disney a letter back which I took a photo of. On one hand I find it funny, the other hand it makes me feel guilty.

The letter says "Help,
Yes Us
Tom, Sara, Roo
Disney Land"

Now onward to schedules. I have read WTM 4 times and skim it quite frequently for reference, but I recently read LCC as well (2 times) and find it very, very appealing. What to do? I have been spending endless amounts of time trying to figure out what I am going to do schedule wise next year for Grade 1. This year being K, I can dip my toes in various ponds and take it as learning. Next year I really want something more schedule based. I really do well with a schedule laid out for me and gain immense satisfaction when I can cross stuff off as I go. I also like the illusion that I am somewhat organized;) I know you can combine WTM and LCC but my question is how. I wish there was a schedule generator that I could input information and it will provide me with the most time efficient and beneficial schedule to follow. I don't want to tackle too much but I also am scared of not enough stuff. Now I am off to look at LCC once again to see if all becomes clear. (wishful thinking)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Artist Extraordinaire

I have this little ceramic dogs head that my mother made me when I was a child. It was used to place my glasses on when I went to bed at night. Last year when my dd was told she needed glasses I passed it down to her which pleases her immensely. Late last night as I was trying to get her to bed she told me she was "creating". So I let her be for awhile. When she was done she handed me the little sculpture she made from play doh. She told me it was for me to put my glasses on at night to replace the one I gave her. It is a multi colour rabbit, with two plastic utensils for ears and it's beautiful. We have to let it dry out a bit to get harder but when it is done it will sit beside my old holder on the sink vanity.

My old holder and the new rabbit glasses holder.

A close up

  I was going to get Roo to do some school work this morning that was not completed yesterday. She looked at me with sad eyes and declared, "but mom, it's the weekend". That's what I get for going over weekends and week days with her last week. I'm going to try again later though. Dh went into work a little while ago to finish some stuff up. I may be able to use the fact that dh had to work today too, to get her to agree.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beginning of something good or something bad?

I asked myself this question as I was registering for this blog. It will be good if I can integrate blogging into my everyday life. It will be bad if I let it slowly fade away. Only time will tell, but it was time I started a new avenue. I am an introvert and maybe I can breach some social issues through this blog.

Now I am going to address the blog name. First off, I am completely uncreative. I am the type of person who is told to write a short poem or story and at the end will have nothing for you. So coming up with a blog name almost equated torture for me. By the name one may think I am a rocker mom who enjoys concerts and motorcycles. This is definitely not the case. It came to be during lessons today while I was trying not to bang my head off the table. I noticed that this is a common occurrence in our household so my head banging journey came to be during an excruciatingly long math lesson.

This is my first year homeschooling. It was something I had thought about but never really thought was possible. As the time for my dd5 came up for her to begin her K year, I began to research. That led me to The Well Trained Mind book and forum and then to The Latin Centered Curriculum. From these sources my decision was made although my husband was a little slower to get on board.  I finally feel powerful and in control (well sort of) of my daughters education. I want to be able to provide her with a rigorous classic education full of so much more than she would get at the school down the street. I felt empowered as I wrote that. Maybe this blog thing is going to workout after all.